2020 NCAA tournament bracketology: Dayton rises to No. 1 seed, replacing San Diego State

The Dayton Flyers have ascended to a projected No. 1 seed in the latest NCAA tournament bracketology. 

Dayton drubbed Rhode Island, a bubble team, on the road Wednesday night by 27 points and is set to close out the regular season at home vs. George Washington, which has a 12-18 overall record. Not only have the Flyers (28-2, 17-0, 3 NET score) not lost in conference play, they've only lost this year in overtime and on neutral courts — to Kansas and Colorado. They've won 19 games in a row.

Skeptics will say criticize the strength of the Atlantic 10. It ranks as the eighth-best conference in the NET score and is only projected to send one team to the NCAAs (Rhode Island and Richmond are on the bubble). But a blind résumé test will reveal Dayton's profile is more than worthy of a No. 1 seed with five Quadrant 1 victories, a top-25 strength of schedule and no bad losses. 

Dayton Flyers forward Obi Toppin (1) dunks the ball against the Richmond Spiders in the second half at Robins Center. (Photo: Geoff Burke, USA TODAY Sports)

Compare Dayton's credentials with San Diego State (27-1, 4 NET), the team it leapfrogged on Thursday's bracket, and the Flyers have more Quad 1 wins, a better NET score and a better strength of schedule. Wednesday's rout over Rhode Island qualified as a Quad 1 victory for Dayton, and that was enough to change the top seeding lines.

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Behind national player of the year candidate Obi Toppin, Dayton has emerged as a Final Four threat with the high seed it has already earned entering its regular-season finale.

► No. 1 seeds (in order): Kansas, Baylor, Gonzaga, Dayton.

► Last four in: Rutgers, Stanford, UCLA, North Carolina State.

 First Four out: Richmond, Cincinnati, Purdue, Tennessee.



NCAA tourney explainer:

  • Quadrant 1 wins: Home games vs. 1-30 NET teams; Neutral-site games vs. 1-50 NET; Away games vs. 1-75 NET
  • Quadrant 2 wins: Home games vs. 31-75 NET; Neutral-site games vs. 51-100 NET; Away games vs. 76-135 NET
  • Quadrant 3 wins, losses: Home games vs. 76-160 NET; Neutral-site games vs. 101-200 NET; Away games vs. 136-240 NET
  • Quadrant 4 wins, losses: Home games vs. 161-plus NET; Neutral-site games vs. 201-plus NET; Away games vs. 241-plus NET

Others considered for at-large bid (in order):  Arkansas, Utah State, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Memphis, Mississippi State.

On life support (in no particular order): Tulsa, Furman, Notre Dame, Syracuse, UNC-Greensboro, Alabama, Clemson, Georgetown.

Multi-bid conferences: Big Ten (10), Big East (7), Pac-12 (7), Big 12 (6), ACC (5), SEC (4), West Coast (3), American Athletic (2). 

Leaders or highest RPI from projected one-bid conferences — (24 total): Atlantic 10 – Dayton, America East – Vermont, Atlantic Sun – Liberty, Big Sky – Eastern Washington, Big South – Radford, Big West – UC Irvine, Colonial – Hofstra, Conference USA – North Texas, Horizon – Wright State, Ivy – Yale, MAAC – Siena, MAC – Akron, MEAC – North Carolina A&T, Missouri Valley – Northern Iowa, Mountain West – San Diego State, Northeast – Saint Francis (Pa.), Ohio Valley – Belmont, Patriot – Colgate, Southern – East Tennessee State; Southland – Stephen F. Austin, SWAC – Prairie View A&M, Summit – South Dakota State, Sun Belt – Arkansas-Little Rock, WAC – New Mexico State

  • Transition schools ineligible to participate: Cal Baptist, North Alabama, Merrimack.
  • Banned from participating: Georgia Tech, Detroit.


Note:  Mostly all statistical data is used from WarrenNolan.com. The NCAA's NET rankings are also a reference point. 

About our bracketologist: Shelby Mast has been projecting the field since 2005 on his website, Bracket W.A.G. He joined USA TODAY in 2014. In his seventh season as our national bracketologist, Mast has finished as one of the top three bracketologists in the past six March Madnesses. He’s also predicted for The Indianapolis Star, collegeinsider.com and is an inaugural member of the Super 10 Selection Committee. Follow him on Twitter @BracketWag.

Follow college basketball reporter Scott Gleeson on Twitter @ScottMGleeson.

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